By Bernice Bessey .
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been reached between the Local Government Service (LGS) and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, to build the capacities of its staff.
Under the pact, the two agreed on developing training modules, seminars, diploma courses, distance learning, staff exchanges and related programmes as part of urban governance that would take place in both Ghana and the Netherlands.
The MoU focuses on four thematic areas, namely, integrated urban planning and development, preparation of infrastructure projects, environmental and climate change, and municipal finance and governance.
The Head of the Local Government Service, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, signed on behalf of the Service, while Dr Cornelius Wilhelmus, a Director at HIS, signed for IHS at a brief ceremony in Rotterdam.
In an interview, Dr Ato Arthur explained that Ghana is currently undergoing rapid urbanisation and modernisation enhancement, requiring equitable and sustainable partnerships to harness opportunities in the dispensation.
He said the urban population of Ghana will be reaching 54 per cent by 2030, a significant increase from 36 per cent in 2016, a situation the country must prepared for.
Dr Ato Arthur said although Ghana has location advantage in Africa, in terms of political stability, high Gross Domestic Product growth, as well as government’s progressive policy initiatives such as the One District One Factory, Planting for Food and Jobs, Accra was not one of the destinations of four-key Foreign Direct Investment flows in Africa.
“The four are Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg and Cairo, according to the State of African Cities Report 2018,” he said.
He noted that the Local Government Service sought to be more innovative to support the country’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, African Union Agenda 2063.
He said in pursuance of the objectives and functions, the LGS had made efforts to ensure that it became “a world-class, decentralised and client oriented service.”
“Its mission is to support Local Government to deliver value for money services through the mobilisation, harmonisation, and utilisation of qualified human capacity and material resources to promote local and national development,” he said.
He stated that through the three-year partnership, the capacity of staff would be built to be able to develop resilient measures to environmental issues, including climate change that was having dire consequences on all sectors of the nation’s economy.
Dr Wilhelmus said the university had human development and institutional capacity building that facilitated quality livelihoods of people as some of its topmost priorities.
He said the university was one of the topmost in the world, and had an enviable track record of developing capacity training for governments, non-governmental organisations, civil societies, and academia, as well as training institutions in the selected areas.
The LGS is a Public Service Institution with the mandate to secure effective administrative and management of local government in the country, made up of the LGS, the Regional Co-ordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and their substructures. It has the responsibility for providing the strategic direction for local government administration and management in Ghana, and collaborates with other national institutions to facilitate ongoing local government reforms to ensure the administration of the country measured up to international best practices.
The LGS is also responsible for the training and career development of the staff of local government institutions to ensure the delivery of value for money, and assist local governments for improved local and national development.